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Garry Kasparov has raced off to a fine start in the Mikhail Tal Memorial tournament in Riga, Latvia, with three wins and a draw from his first four games. The style of his victories has been impressive: they include a 22-move win against Jan Timman and a powerful 24-move Evans Gambit against Viswanathan Anand. Kasparov could hardly have hoped for a better result against his PCA world title challenger.

The opening was appropriate to the occasion. The late Mikhail Tal once admitted to having prepared the Evans Gambit for his world title matches against Botvinnik, though he was never offered the chance to try it. But Kasparov was not merely paying tribute to Tal's memory. He has played the Evans before, dusting off its 19th-century theory and adding a new shine with his own analysis. This time, he produced a subtle idea at move seven. 5...Be7 and 6...Na5 is usually followed by 7.Bd3 d6! 8.dxe5 dxe5 9.Nxe5 Nf6, when Black has returned his pawn for comfortable development. After Kasparov's move, 7.Be2 d6 8.Qa4+ c6 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.Nxe5 is far less attractive for Black: there is no vulnerable bishop on d3, and White is ready to play 0-0 and Rd1.

What Anand played was worse. Kasparov sacrificed a second pawn and, refusing to be bought off with 17.Bg7 Bf6 18.Bxh8 Bxh8, he went straight for the king in brilliant style.

White: G. Kasparov

Black: V. Anand

1 e4 e5 14 Rd1 Nd7

2 Nf3 Nc6 15 Bh6 Ncxe5

3 Bc4 Bc5 16 Nxe5 Nxe5

4 b4 Bxb4 17 Nc3 f6

5 c3 Be7 18 c5 Nf7

6 d4 Na5 19 cxd6 cxd6

7 Be2 exd4 20 Qe3 Nxh6

8 Qxd4 Nf6 21 Qxh6 Bf8

9 e5 Nc6 22 Qe3+ Kf7

10 Qh4 Nd5 23 Nd5 Be6

11 Qg3 g6 24 Nf4 Qe7

12 0-0 Nb6 25 Re1 resigns

13 c4 d6

g, , c b

nh, xa,h

, ndnh,

, , , ,

, , V ,

, , X ,


B , B Z

At the end, Anand had run out of decent moves. 25...Re8 loses to 26.Nxe6 Qxe6 27.Qxe6+ Kxe6 (or 27...Rxe6 28.Bc4) 28.Bb5+; 25...Bd7 loses to 28.Bc4+Ke8 29.Qc3; and 25...Qd7 (the best try) is met by 26.Bb5! Qxb5 27.Qxe6+ Kg7 28.Nd5 with an overwhelming attack.

William Hartston